Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder in which a person severely limits his or her food intake, has a distorted body image, refuses to maintain a normal body weight, and is intensely afraid of gaining weight despite being very underweight. Long-term or severe anorexia can lead to serious health problems and even death.
Symptoms or signs of anorexia include:
The cause of anorexia is not known, although certain personality traits (such as perfectionism) and a family history of eating disorders may contribute. Anorexia is more frequently found in athletes or people in professions or sports that require a certain body type, such as modeling, ballet, theater, or wrestling. Anorexia affects mostly teenage girls and young women. It can develop in boys, young men, and adult women.
Anorexia can become a lifelong illness, but it is possible to fully recover with proper treatment.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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